Ken MacLeod’s The Execution Channel. 2007. Tor.

I checked out The Execution Channel shortly after I read The Human Front. I wanted more MacLeod, and this was a fortuitous selection. The book is so engaging, so interesting that I read it on a weekend afternoon. Few authors craft characters, narrative, and perspectives so engaging and intriguing that I spend that much time on one day on one book.

The story starts: relatively peaceful protestors are present when an unexpected explosion occurs at a US base in the UK. Martial law and panic ensue. In the maelstrom’s midst and aftermath, something called the Execution Channel consistently broadcasts the deaths of people from around the globe.

Maoist revolutionaries, bloggers, and the state struggle to make sense of what’s going. Central to the story is a father-daughter relationship where both are committed activists. Nice to see that in a narrative! MacLeod explores state surveillance and terror, complexities and absurdities of activism, and well as the power of rumor and false facts.

By exploring perspectives, actions, conversations, and daily moments of people powerful and powerless, armed and peaceful, moral and centered on control and gain, MacLeod explores a very near future, a tangential world that we are horribly close to slipping into in late 2017 or 2018.

Definitely a binge read: dialogue natural; description solid. Characters are largely believable and interesting. Keynote: important and engaging nature of exploring potentially more silly extremes and absurdities, as they appeared in 2007, and just how close they are to us now, a decade later, under the reign of Trump.

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